Paulson Plan: Will it Work?
The primary goal of the Paulson Plan is to get the banks to lend again – or “unclog the system” as Secretary Paulson put it. Secondary goals are to “protect the taxpayer” and hopefully minimize moral hazard.
Will the plan achieve the primary goal? I think the answer is yes. By removing these troubled assets from the balance sheets of the financial institutions, the banks will able to lend again without lingering doubts about their solvency and viability. At first glance, the size of the plan seems sufficient.
It is almost guaranteed that there will be unintended and unanticipated consequences, but the plan will probably achieve the primary goal. And making sure the banks continue to lend will minimize the impact of the credit crisis on the general economy.
Unfortunately the Plan fails to address the secondary goals….
Yves at Naked Capitalism:
Why You Should Hate the Treasury Bailout Propsal
the shockingly short, sweeping text of the proposed legislation has lead to reactions of consternation among the knowledgeable, but whether this translates into enough popular ire fast enough to restrain this freight train remains to be seen.
First, let’s focus on the aspect that should get the proposal dinged (or renegotiated) regardless of any possible merit, namely, that it gives the Treasury imperial power with respect to a simply huge amount of funds. $700 billion is comparable to the hard cost of the Iraq war, bigger than the annual Pentagon budget. And mind you, $700 billion is not the maximum that the Treasury may spend, it’s the ceiling on the outstandings at any one time. It’s a balance sheet number, not an expenditure limit.
But here is the truly offensive section of an overreaching piece of legislation: Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Dr./Prof. Paul Krugman
Thinking the Bailout Through
…the plan does nothing to address the lack of capital unless the Treasury overpays for assets. And if that’s the real plan, Congress has every right to balk.
So what should be done? Well, let’s think about how, until Paulson hit the panic button, the private sector was supposed to work this out: financial firms were supposed to recapitalize, bringing in outside investors to bulk up their capital base. That is, the private sector was supposed to cut off the problem at stage 2.
It now appears that isn’t happening, and public intervention is needed. But in that case, shouldn’t the public intervention also be at stage 2 — that is, shouldn’t it take the form of public injections of capital, in return for a stake in the upside?
Let’s not be railroaded into accepting an enormously expensive plan that doesn’t seem to address the real problem..
U.S. Taxpayers to Bail Out Foreign Debtholders too?
“Participating financial institutions must have significant operations in the U.S., unless the Secretary makes a determination, in consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that broader eligibility is necessary to effectively stabilize financial markets,